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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera America  February 28, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EST

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>> and there was still plenty of his countrymen who believe him or at least wish he was right. he said that russia should intervene although he didn't say how, but he did say that he believes russia will act and express surprise as the muted response so far from fresh off the olympics president vladimir putin. there are reports from southern ukraine that 2,000 russian troops have landed there. one ukrainian leader has called on russia to stop the provocation, stop the aggression and said the ukrainian army is prepared to defend it's territory. we'll get the very latest live from ukraine, but first the day's fast-moving events in a country that is geographically and culturally at the crossroads of east and west.
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>> troops with no insignia took control of the crimeaen airports. ten russian helicopters flew into ukraine air space. watching it all very closely is united states. secretary of state john kerry discussing rising tensions this morning. >> we raise the issue of the airports, we raise the issue of armored vehicles and personnel in various places. while we were told that they are
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not engaging in any violation of the sovereignty and do not intend to, i nevertheless made it clear that that could be misinterpreted at the moment, and there are enough tensions that it is important for everybody to be extremely careful not to inflame the situation, and not to send the wrong messages. >> most crimeaens are ethnic russians. ussr collapsed in 1991, crimea became part of an independent ukraine. >> this is the tension that exists within ukraine itself. this is an east-west tension right within ukraine. >> a crimea is home to one of the major naval bases as well as
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pipelines that pump natural gas from russia. ousted president viktor yanukovych surfaced for the first time in public since fleeing the capitol last week. he spoke in russia. >> i intend to keep fighting for the future of you vain against those who are using fear and terror to seize the country. i decided to state this publicly. no one deposed me. i was forced to leave ukraine under direct threat were mine and my family's lives. >> he claims he is still the new president and the government is illegitimate. he said russia must act, but he didn't elaborate, saying it would be inappropriate to say what russia would do. for his heart president putin has been silent in public. did he speak by phone by bristol city prime minister david cameron.
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a spokeswoman said vladimir putin said a free and fair election for the ukraine. >> reporter: we demand actions sovereignty of ukraine. >> they seek $35 billion in aid over two years to right the fiscal ship. the international monetary fund and other nations have poised the help white the commitment of $1,515,000,000,000 from russia is on hold after the ouster of russia's former man in kiev, yanukovych. >> viktor yanukovych's powers have been taken unby other ukrainian politician who is say they are now in charge.
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but the sight of heavily armed soldiers in unmarked uniforms in crimea says the situation is far from settled, and the president will speak on the situation. >> obama: we have urged an end to the violence and urge ukrainians to pursue a course in which they stabilize their country, forge a broad-based government and move to selections this spring. i also spoke several days ago with president putin, and we made clear that they can be part of an international community's effort to support the stability and success of an united ukraine going forward. which is not only in the interest of people of ukraine and the international community but also in russia's interests. however, we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the russian federation inside of ukraine.
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russia has a history relationship with ukraine, including cultural and economic ties and a facility in crimea. but any violation of ukraine's sovereignty and territory integrity would be deeply unstabilizing which is not in the best interest of ukraine, russia or europe. it would represent a profound interference in matters of the ukrainian people. it would be the respect of independence and borders of ukraine and of international laws. just days after the world came to russia for the olympic games, it would invite the condem condn of nations around the world, and we will stand with the international community confirming ther there will be cs of military intervention in ukraine. the events in the last several months remind us of how difficult democracy can be. but the ukrainian people have
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also reminded us that human beings have an universal right to determine their own future. right now the situation remains very fluid. the vice president biden just spoke with the prime minister of ukraine to assure him at this difficult type the united states supports his government's efforts and stands for sovereignty, integrity and democratic future of ukraine. i also commend the ukrainian government restraint and it's commitment tossup hold international, and we'll keep all of you in the press corp and the american people informed as events develop. thanks very much. >> from the white house president barack obama speaking live updating his
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administration's view of the fast-changing situation in ukraine. joining us now to help you understand this situation jennifer glass from ukraine. jennifer, welcome to the program. it's unclear what's going on in the skies over the ukrainian peninsula and the ground. soldiers we don't know where they came from, and helicopters unmarked. do we know what's going on in crimea? >> i'll tell you what we do know tonight is the air space over crimea is closed. a commercial airport has canceled all flights until tomorrow evening here. there are armed men at the airport today. i tried to talk to them, but they wouldn't tell us if why they were where, where they were from, if they were russian or ukrainian.
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there is nothing to identify them as russian or ukrainian. we saw the same thing at the airport now that's a military airport about an hour from here. we did see there is a youtube video showing helicopters heading towards that airport earlier today we're not exactly sure who these men are. television showing even more troops at the airport, which is as i said, closed. very uncertain situation here in crimea. home to russia's black sea fleet, and a number of russian military bases here. >> well, that permanent presence of russian military on crimea peninsula, does that make it implicated to understand who is supposed to be there and whose not?
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>> the fleet is protecting russian interests, and it has been saying for a number of days it was not in the best interest of russia. that's why it withdrew it's ambassador from ukraine after president yanukovych left the country. >> they're warned not to violate ukraine integrity. that's the big concern here. we saw a few, laugh a dozen russian armor personnel carriers on what they call exercises just north, a few miles outside of the city.
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they said they are just on exercises but for the international community seeming a little inflammatory. the people here are comforted by this. many look towards russia for safety. many are ethnic russians, and they speak russian, and so they find comfort knowing that the russians are nearby. vladimir putin calling for a russian military exercise on ukraine borders. he calls it a very clear side to show that russia is here present and very, very close and influential on the region. >> jennifer class reporting to us live from the crimea peninsula. now let's head northwest to kiev where our nick schifrin is standing by. nick, what is being said by politicians trying to understand the situation in crimea?
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>> well, it's a huge sauterne ray. they're calling it no less than a russian occupation, what they're worried about so much here, what secretary of kerry is worried about and president obama worried about in washington is whether this government is up to this task. the government is 30 hours old. this government would have challenges no matter what was happening in the south political unity challenges, economic challenges, unmarked economic challenges. this country will default in three months. and then you add on top of all of that the security challenge, huge security challenge in crimea. the rhetoric from the government is aggressive. they say they'll send in the military. whether it's some kind of russian invasion, which of course has not happened yet. we don't even know if there are any russians on the ground, not officially. but what is the capacity of this
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government to do that. the u.s. is scrambling to try to prop it up, but it will be up to the very new, very young government in the cabinet and parliament to respond to the military aggression, as they call it, to prove that they are ready for this task, and ready for this challenge. >> is there worried that a crimea going it's own way could embolden other provinces in eastern ukraine who are pro-russian, generally, to strike out on their own as well? we heard the president in his statement , will the ukraine fall
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apart? >> when we look at crimea, it's a concerning example not necessarily indicative of the whole country. however, the russian military exercise is 105,000 troops. this is a big concern in terms of the numbers. when you look at the east. when president yanukovych speaks from inside russia he's reaching to a certain extent to crimea and also into eastern ukraine, also russian-speaking and also very much focused onlooking east rather than the people here who are looking west. it's those people in kiev is worried about. more than secession, it's more keeping the country together. keeping cities across the east to face and confront all the
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challenges that it has. >> thank you, nick schifrin an m ukraine. this is inside story.
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>> welcome back to inside story. i'm ray suarez. the situation in ukraine remains tense tonight, and the focus is on what's happening in crimea. we just heard from president prt obama. here in washington, william palmarez for advance russian studies of the woodrow wilson center. he teaches russian law at georgetown, university. and from berlin senior program officer at the german marshal fund. william, what do you think the president was saying between the
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lines? >> i think he was trying to be as strong as he possibly could knowing a lot of cards are outside of his control right now. the issue is really what is the calculous that russian is taking? has it decided not to take a wait-and-see approach, or has it decided to pursue this very provocative action that seems to be occurring in crimea. again, the events are very fast moving and but of course the troops show up without insignia and without license plate show this is not spontaneous actions but clearly planned. >> this is what russia did in georgia, it makes a small
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operation to try and encourage an overreaction on the part of the country upon which the sovereignty of that disputed region is based. then when there is an overreaction as it was in 1992 and 2008, and then russian troops come in greater numbers. i think this is what they hoped that the ukraines would do here. one has to remember that the russian site here it really does believe, and putin really does believe that ukrainian fascist nationalists are empowering kiev, and they were the ones behind the euro maidon revolution. as for those without insignia. if any of them are caught by ukrainian police, they're not military. they're combatants and we could hand them over to guantanamo bay maybe. >> how do you think who these
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troops are, airborne and on the ground suddenly popping up in crimea? >> i think they're clearly russian or russian backed. theat this stage we do not know. i think very clearly, and i believe basically this is a scenario very similar to those in 2008 or in the case of other conflicts in the neighborhoods of europe. the developments that we've seen over the last couple of days follow a very similar pattern as those in other regional conflicts we've seen in the past. >> they mentioned at the outset that they may russian or russian-backed.
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is that an important distinction? >> well, of course. i think for the russian side it's very important for the time being to stay below the line of direct military intervention. there is a very clear calculation here. it does think it gets a wave of criticism in the west, but for local insurgents coming from very large ethnic group of russians in crimea, or perhaps russians who infiltrate from russia proper. in that sense i think russia here at the moment is trying for a scenario that remains below the line of direct military intervention with all the sports given to local russians. perhaps those today, or those who employ political
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constitutions in crimea. the question then is there may an need for russian intervention at some stage. there may be a trigger form of fighting, there may be attacks by none russians in crimea and may be a stronger response by the central government in kiev and it's armed forces. this may be a trigger of russian response. but for the time being i think they're trying to stay below that line because they know that this will not bring the same strong response as an open intervention boo. >> time for a short break. when we come back we'll talk about the interests at stake for all the observers and players. the new government in kiev, government in russia, bruce he
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wills, and the washington, d.c. establishment. this is inside story.
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